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Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

4 Fun Things to Do at Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies


With over 10,000 exotic sea creatures and 350 individual species, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is filled with amazing wildlife and educational opportunities that the whole family will love! As one of the most popular Gatlinburg attractions, Ripley’s Aquarium has hosted over 15 million visitors since its doors opened in 2000! Today, Ripley’s Aquarium has tons of amazing events and activities that you can partake in on your next visit. Here are 4 fun things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies:

1. Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure

Set sail onto Shark Lagoon as you embark on the Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure! Get up close and personal with 12-foot sharks and all kinds of curious creatures, with only 3 inches of glass separating you from what’s below. Led by Ripley’s experienced Adventure Crew, you’ll learn all about the 8,500 aquatic animals in Shark Lagoon, including Sally the sea turtle, sawfish, and thousands of other colorful and dangerous creatures! Experience the aquarium like never before when you sail on the Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat! This once in a lifetime activity makes this adventure one of the most fun things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

2. Make a Penguin Pal

penguins at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies If you’ve ever wanted to meet the cutest creatures in Ripley’s Aquarium, now’s your chance! With both the Penguin Encounter and Penguin Painting Experience, you can hang out with these adorable birds face-to-beak. At the Penguin Encounter you can interact with Ripley’s penguins in a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor habitat. Their expert staff will teach you all about these penguins while you get to pet and take a picture with them! At the Penguin Painting Experience you’ll get to watch as the aquarium’s African Penguins create a one-of-a-kind painting that you can take home! Make sure you make reservations for both activities before your arrival!

3. Attend a Summer Camp at the Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies hosts three different summer camps that will leave your kids wanting to become a marine biologist! The Jr Aquarist Camp takes campers on a full day of adventuring throughout the aquarium where they’ll learn all about marine science and conservation. Go on a behind the scenes tour of shark feedings, feed some of the featured stingrays, test water quality, and more! At the Expedition Camp, your little ones will spend half a day going on scavenger hunts, doing arts and crafts, and engaging in story time. They’ll be able to get an up close look at some animals and learn all about their environment. At the Vet Camp, campers will learn all about becoming an aquatic veterinarian. They’ll get to see some of the day-to-day activities Ripley’s vets are responsible for, such as suturing, reading ultrasounds, examining specimens and more.

4. Stay Overnight for a Aquarium Sleepover

sharks at Ripley's Aquarium of the SmokiesGrab your pjs and sleeping bag because Ripley’s Aquarium is putting on some awesome sleepovers that you don’t want to miss! With three sleepovers to choose from, you’ll love these unforgettable experiences of sleeping with the sea life. Find out if sharks sleep at the Sleep With The Sharks sleepover. Enjoy a fun night of scavenger hunts, snacks, late night activities and more before falling asleep under the watchful eyes of Ripley’s sharks. At the Mermaid Slumber Party you can sleep under the Shark Lagoon tunnel and meet the prettiest sea creatures in the aquarium, Ripley’s mermaids! For anyone 21 and over, reserve a spot for the Sips and Sharks, the sleepover with drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a behind the scenes tour and a continental breakfast!

Want to know what else you should do when you’re in town? Check out these other attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge!

Now that you know about all the fun things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies, you can buy your tickets and start planning your trip! After you’ve spent an awesome day at Ripley’s Aquarium, you can explore all the other fun things to do in the Smoky Mountains! We look forward to seeing you!